The cygnets were born after over 30 days of incubation
The Maryland Zoo announced 2 trumpeter swans hatched after spending more than 30 days incubating at their nest in the Farmyard at the zoo. Until the hatchlings, called cygnets, are large enough, they will be raised by their parent, who will help them develop skills needed to survive in the wild.
“Since the cygnets are part of a reintroduction program we are always very hands-off to keep them from imprinting with humans,” explained Jen Kottyan, curator of birds at Maryland Zoo, in an organizational release.1 “That gives them the best odds for survival in the wild once they are released.”
Trumpeter swans are among the largest waterfowl species native to North America and the largest swans in the world. The swans can weigh about 30 pounds and are most known for their bright white feathers, black beaks, six-foot wingspan, and large webbed feet.
According to the release,1 trumpeter swans were hunted nearly to extinction in the early 1900s leading to the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This treaty act protected the swans and other birds to help curb illegal killing, but the population continued to decline with possibly only 70 trumpeter swans remaining in the wild.
“This is the seventh clutch laid by our trumpeter swans. Over the past decade our swan parents, Scuttle and Buttercup, have played a very important role in the conservation of their species,” said Kottyan.
“Many of their previous offspring were reintroduced to the wild as part of a trumpeter swan restoration program in Iowa. This year the cygnets will be sent to Oregon where they’ll be released by the state’s Department of Natural Resources,” she continued.
Trumpeter swans hatch at Maryland Zoo. News release. Maryland Zoo. May 24, 2023. Accessed May 24, 2023. https://www.marylandzoo.org/news-and-updates/2023/05/trumpeter-swans-hatch-at-maryland-zoo